The Senate votes no on the Keystone Pipeline, housing permits reach a more than six-year high and a reggae legend is the face of the world's first global cannabis brand. Read about these and more of the morning's top business news stories.
Senate Votes No on Keystone Pipeline Vote
By a vote of 59-41, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected legislation Tuesday night to force completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Republicans vowed to resurrect the controversial issue soon after taking control of both houses of Congress in January. The tally was one short of the 60 needed to clear the House-passed measure and is being seen as a setback for Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who is in an uphill Dec. 6 runoff election. The third-term Democrat had commandeered control of the chamber's agenda in hopes of securing approval of the project, despite her party’s opposition. All 45 Senate Republicans supported the legislation to build the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Only 14 of 55 Democrats and allied independents joined them, a total that didn't budge despite an appeal by Landrieu behind closed doors a few hours before the vote.
Housing Starts Down in October, Permits Up
New house construction in the U.S. fell 2.8 percent in October, led down by volatile apartment building, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The annual rate of total housing starts declined to 1.01 million last month from 1.04 million in September. The October starts rate in buildings with at least five units dropped 15.5 permits. Construction starts for single-family homes, however, rose 4.2 percent to hit the highest pace since November 2013. The pace of overall construction starts was up 7.8 percent from the same period last year. The annual pace of permits for new construction, a sign of future demand, rose 4.8 percent in October to 1.08 million, the highest rate since June 2008.
Feds Urge Nationwide Airbag Recall
Federal regulators are calling on automotive supplier Takata and several automakers to initiate a nationwide recall of certain driver's side air bags beyond the current regional actions limited to states where there is high humidity, USA TODAY reports. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is taking the action because of a new incident in North Carolina, one of the states not covered by the regional recalls, in which the driver of a 2007 Ford Mustang was in an accident in which the air bag inflator ruptured when the bag deployed. The agency said that if the companies don't agree to the nationwide recall, the agency will move to order it. A Senate panel is scheduled to meet Thursday on the Takata air bag situation, which has been responsible for a reported five deaths and 100 injuries.
Abenomics: December Election, Sales Tax Hike Off
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election for December and put off a sales tax hike planned for next year, “seeking a renewed mandate for his all-or-nothing policies to end two decades of economic stagnation,” the Associated Press reports.The Japanese economy, the world’s third largest slipped into a recession last quarter after a sales tax increase in April crushed consumer and business spending. That forced Abe to delay the second hike planned for October 2015 until April 2017.Abe announced Tuesday he will dissolve parliament on Friday and that he wants an election as soon as mid-December to seek public approval for his tax decision and for his overall "Abenomics" policies of extreme monetary easing, heavy government spending and economic reforms.
Marley Canabis Brand Smokin’
The proposed “world’s first global cannadbis brand” will carry the name Marley. Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, a U.S. private equity firm, announced Tuesday it has reached a licensing deal with heirs of late, legendary reggae star Bob Marley to offer marijuana strains, including ones famed in Jamaica, where regulations permit by late next year. It also plans to sell weed-infused lotions, creams and various accessories.
Breach? What Breach? Home Depot 3Q Sales Top Expectations
Home Depot's third-quarter profit rose 14 percent, an indication it has built a solid foundation of trust with its customers despite the data breach two months ago. The nation's biggest home improvement retailer stuck to its outlook for all of 2014, but said that it could not account for all possible losses from a data breach it revealed in September that affected 56 million debit and credit cards. For now, the company is putting those costs at $28 million pretax for the most recent quarter, and $34 million as it pertains to its guidance for 2014, the Associated Press reports. Revenue for the Atlanta company climbed 5 percent to $20.52 billion from $19.47 billion, topping expectations. In the U.S., those sales in stores that have been open at least a year increased 5.8 percent. These sales exclude volatility from recently opened or closed locations, and provide a better look at a retailer's core health.